$3.4SGO Results 2020: Money Left on the Table?

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While SGO donations “count” for the year the donation is made (January 1 through December 31), the SGO program is a fiscal year program… July 1 through June 30 (hence why someone can donate in December and again in January for two different tax years but the same SGO year).

Here are the results for the 53 schools and General Fund (for donors without a connection to one of our schools) in the family of schools of The Lutheran SGO of Indiana as well as for the program across the state. First, the stats:

  • Donations: Donors to our schools to support scholarships last fiscal year was $2,909,126, an increase of 5% over last fiscal year our the second-highest year on record. A few of our peer SGOs in Indiana saw a decrease in donations, but state-wide the program continues to grow with a total of nearly $24 million in donations for families in need of financial assistance.
  • Scholarships: Thanks to this generosity, our 53 schools awarded a record $2,700,746 in scholarships for 1,653 students, for an average award of $1,634. We anticipate the need to grow for this fiscal year as families who never would have considered an SGO scholarship are struggling to keep their children in our schools. Statewide, nearly $23 million in scholarships were received by families.
  • Of note, we find that our numbers tend to lag a year; scholarship awards generally match what was donated the previous year.

While we celebrate these successes, there were still unused credits. While in the past credits have run out as early as mid-December, this year we left $3.4 million in credits “on the table.” Why?

  • Context: $3.4 million of the total $15 million in credits remained. It was the 2016-17 fiscal year when we last ran out of credits, but the total credits available back then were $9.5 million. If state legislators had not given us more credits in the following years since 2016, we would have run out of credits in December of 2019! Thank your local school-choice-friendly Indiana legislator today!
  • Terms: Let’s note that there were $15 million in credits available; that would translate to $30 million in donations (50% credit). So, $3.4 million in credits leftover means donors still supported scholarships to the tune of almost $24 million vs. $19 million in 2016. That is a cause for celebration indeed.
  • COVID: Looking at issues cited after last year’s fiscal year end (see the article), we listed perceived SGO tax changes, bunching, the stock market, and a lack of urgency. This year? COVID has emboldened our statement: “There is just no ‘usual year’ in the Indiana SGO world...There are just too many factors that can affect results since the SGO year spans two different calendar years.”

All we can do is promote the benefits to our donors and make it as convenient as possible to support scholarships with online giving, periodic auto giving, ACH, gifts of stock, gifts of grain, Paypal, etc.

On behalf of the students, families, faculty, staff, and leadership at the schools of The Lutheran SGO of Indiana, thank you for making the dream of a Christian education a reality in Indiana. As one principal told us, "We don't want a family to not consider our school because of financial need." Donors to The Lutheran SGO of Indiana continue to ensure that this goal is a reality.


Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay